Paul Gaustad's failure to go after Milan Lucic helped dramatically alter the season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Much went wrong during Sabres’ lost season

“The main thing is start talking about it and just put it out there that we want to win a championship. We want to do it the right way, and we just have to hit a few checkpoints along the way and set ourselves up for it.” – Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, September 16, 2011

BUFFALO – Nearly seven months after his upbeat chat as training camp opened, Miller and the Sabres will clean out ... Read the full article

©2012

Loss to hapless Leafs hurts Sabres’ postseason hopes

TORONTO – This embarrassing Buffalo Sabres’ loss feels like a killer, one that could ultimately extinguish the playoffs hopes that seemed so promising less than two days ago.

Against the reeling, 14th-place Maple Leafs – a team that had dropped 11 consecutive games inside the Air Canada Centre and began Saturday on an awful 5-17-3 run – the Sabres fell 4-3 in their arch rival’s first home win since Feb. 6.

Ouch. If ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres’ Hodgson getting accustomed to new city, team

BUFFALO – Cody Hodgson said he loves exploring cities. On the road, where he’s on pace to play an NHL-record 48 games this season, the 22-year-old Sabres center tries to see all the sights.

Hodgson just visited Times Square last week prior to his first game in New York. The Toronto native rates Dallas – sorry, Sabres fans – and Nashville among his favorite cities.

One day recently, Hodgson hopped in his rental car and ... Read the full article

©2012

Knee injury will sideline Sabres’ Ehrhoff indefinitely

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who left Tuesday’s 5-1 win in Washington following a knee-on-knee collision with the Capitals’ Troy Brouwer, is out indefinitely.

Coach Lindy Ruff offered few details about the slick German’s left knee injury Wednesday, only saying the 29-year-old had been evaluated and would miss “some time.” He wouldn’t specify if it could be days or weeks. He said the injury news was better than he expected.

Mike Weber, a healthy ... Read the full article

Alex Ovechkin's Capitals have 84 points. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ ‘biggest game’ of season could vault them into playoff spot

BUFFALO – In reality, it’s a single game for the Sabres, one of 82 regular-season contests. Tonight’s anticipated eight-versus-nine tilt in Washington is potentially worth two points for them, just like any other game.

If the Sabres win, break their tie with the Capitals (84 points) and move into eighth place, they could quickly lose the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot again. Don’t forget, they stayed there less than a day after grabbing it Saturday.... Read the full article

©2012

Scorching Sabres down Wild, roar into eighth place

BUFFALO – Beaten down, broken and seemingly finished at several points this season, the Sabres’ tight 3-1 triumph over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday – their 18th win in 28 tries – bumped the scorching club into the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.

On Feb. 17, the Sabres fell into the cellar, nine points out of the last postseason spot.

If the Sabres, who lead ninth-place Washington by two points (84-82), hold on, the ... Read the full article

©2012

Miller’s shutout over Habs has Sabres sniffing playoff spot

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ shocking resurgence – one that’s vaulted them from the Eastern Conference basement to a points tie with eighth-place Washington in 33 days – can be attributed to several factors.

The banged-up defense corps has stayed healthy and locked down. Several slumping stars have started scoring again, giving the team a secondary scoring attack. A few youngsters have contributed immediately upon their arrival from Rochester.

Most notably, though, Ryan Miller began playing ... Read the full article

Illness has sidelined Andrej Sekera the last five games. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sekera’s return could force a Sabres defenseman out

BUFFALO – Ten days ago, as Andrej Sekera was preparing for warm-ups prior to the Sabres’ tilt against Carolina, the defenseman began feeling ill.

“Just came out of nowhere,” Sekera said Friday after practicing inside the First Niagara Center. “My stomach hurt before the game, and then it just hit me – fever, headaches.”

Sekera sat that game, and then hoped to play two nights later in Ottawa.

Instead, the Slovak’s condition “got worse and ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres shake off awful start, beat Hurricanes in OT

BUFFALO – In the first period Wednesday, after the lethargic Sabres coasted back during a power play and nearly fell behind 2-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes, Lindy Ruff finally had enough.

When the guilty players reached the bench, the coach reamed them out.

“The first period, it wasn’t a great period on our part,” Ruff said following the Sabres’ 3-2 overtime triumph inside the First Niagara Center. “Some of it was execution. Some of it ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres positioned for unlikely run at postseason

BUFFALO – Go ahead, pick the dates the underachieving Sabres appeared finished and primed to play out the string for a lottery pick.

There are plenty, you know.

There was that embarrassing 5-0 dismantling Jan. 16 in Detroit, after which an emotional Ryan Miller said a trade wouldn’t help the Sabres. Two nights later, the Blackhawks throttled them 6-2 in Chicago, the third of five straight losses on a six game-trip.

On Feb. 16, the ... Read the full article